2016 Fashion Forum Panel


Whether you are already in the fashion industry or thinking that this may be a field you want to delve into, The Fashion Forum will be not only an informative panel, but a lively discussion from topics ranging from how to get your foot into the door to anything asked by the audience. We at Sacramento Fashion Week wanted to host an event that is free and open to the public because we believe in cultivating future leaders and so does the featured panel. 

Richard Hallmarq

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Richard Hallmarq‘s rich heritage goes beyond the Golden State of California, son of Panamanian/American parents; his creativity was nurtured early on, wanting to be a professional singer and dancer.   Hallmarq also shared a fascination for fashion.  H learned to sew in junior high school and reached new levels as a high school fashion design student, creating cutting edge styles for fellow students, friends and family.

Hallmarq’s official foray into fashion design began with a simple Post-It note someone left anonymously on his car at a theater parking lot in summer of 2003.  The note bore a famous quote from Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” This was the quote that would change his life forever.  From his first runway show in 2004, to presenting well received collections at San Francisco Fashion Week, Hallmarq has achieved acclaim for his designs as well as tapping into his passion for art and music.

Since obtaining a degree in Fashion Design in 2009, Hallmarq has found success by creating remarkable inroads in fashion, particularly his connections to other celebrities in other art forms (musicians, writers & models) .  This exposure has been a key influence in shaping the garments he produces today.   In 2013 Hallmarq was cast in Season 11 on the Emmy nominated TV series “Project Runway“.  With strict attention to fit and detail he took his preferred textile Jersey- knit from simplicity to luxury.   Hallmarq is the ready-to-wear Jersey boy with a clientele that reaches the woman of business to the world of celebrities.   His dresses can transform you from the office, to dinner or to a red carpet event  – wherever your fashion imagination takes you!

Brandon Earl


A self-proclaimed ‘millennial’ sartorial aficionado and Men’s Tailored Clothing design assistant to American Fashion Designer Mr. Ralph Lauren in New York City.  Brandon Earl is a Sacramento California native who lives to inspire individuals to follow their passions and dreams. Having matriculated through the prestigious all-male private liberal arts college, Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA; Brandon was quickly identified as a student campus influencer and assumed roles of leadership – scholastically, socially and sartorially.

Following graduation (and a few non-successful attempts at a law career), Brandon found himself in search of an outlet that would allow him to express his love for style, hone his eye for taste, explore his palette for art and music and quell his thirst for creativity. Leaving the Americas behind and moving overseas to Shanghai, China, Brandon found himself compelled to follow his dream of becoming a menswear designer. “Shanghai was absolutely the best thing that ever could have happened to me. I had no distractions – only vision and focus.” The experience, which ultimately guided the direction of his Menswear portfolio, landed him a seat in the highly competitive 31-seat international Menswear program at Fashion Institute of Technology, the sole program of its kind in the United States.

Brandon accepted an offer at the design offices of Polo Ralph Lauren in New York following an extensive summer design internship where he currently works alongside Mr. Lauren designing Purple Label Collections and Polo Men’s Collection.

Pete Haynes

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Denim Spot is one of many excellent boutiques in Sacramento. The inventory is always fresh and modern and Denim spot is always supportive of artists housing the art on their walls. However, what makes Denim Spot such an inviting place is owner Pete Haynes.  The Denim Spot provides fashion that transitions from “work to play… office to happy hour”.

Adidas rugby shirts, Ralph Lauren polos, Guess jeans and GQ Magazine created a preppy-crazed Concord, Ca teen in the mid-1980s. This passion was a side bar for the path of a college football player that earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Law and Society, and a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Bio-Chemistry from UC Davis. Initial ambitions for a career in healthcare led L. Pete Haynes into Safeway’s Pharmacy Operations, an educational and occupational background that was far from the typical individual in the Fashion Industry. Yet, the “Preppy Craze” grew into a passion for fashion. After the pharmacy world dulled him, Pete took a leap of faith and created Denim Spot Boutique & Art Gallery, combining his penchant for business and his lust for fashion.

Although he runs from the term stylist, he was often asked to go with friends to help them pick out clothes since his high school days. Yearning for pieces others weren’t up-to-date on, daily shopping became an addiction. His fix now comes from buying for Denim Spot, a boutique focused on the “Thursday to Saturday – Work to Play” looks for the late 20s to late 40s audience. Looking for ways to draw clients away from the majors has led to scouring for edgy looks, exciting new brands, including local designers, and creating relationships with his clients.
Denim Spot Boutique has grown from being a “by appointment only” boutique in a small office space in Suisun into a 2300 sq. foot location in Downtown Sacramento at the foot of the new Golden 1 Center, Sacramento Convention Center, and State Capitol. It continues to feature and, in some cases, nurture local designers. Nothing is better than to offer clients a way to avoid clones, by introducing them to unique piece

Amy Wister

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Amy Wister didn’t acquire her business visionary skills over night; before fine-tuning her entrepreneurial talents, she achieved success in a wide array of other industries that contributed to the creation of The Style Dial®. Following a career as Intel Corporation’s IT Strategic Procurement Relationship Manager, IT Risk Manger and Sarbanes Oxley Technical Writing Team Manager, Wister became a Territory Sales Manager for the nation’s third largest window manufacturer overseeing a large component of retailers.

Having earned her MBA from University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, Wister’s career experiences and leadership training became foundational components of the success that led her to launch The Stylist Online. “Fashion is my passion’,” she says — but not fashion merely in the traditional sense. “My goal was to build a unique methodology to turn shopping and style into a science.” Her trademarked system, The Style Dial®, has since become the guiding principal for helping individuals of any shape select clothes off the rack. Her team of certified stylists across the country is dedicated to combining style and science to provide lasting knowledge and what Wister refers to as “heroic” service levels to its clients.

Wister strongly believes in investing in her community, having held leadership positions in many philanthropic organizations including Active 20/30, Tri Delta Alumni, the Metro Chamber Inspired Giving Board, Leadership Sacramento and as Past President of the Junior League of Sacramento.

Amy Wister is the founder of The Stylist Online. The Stylist Online has expanded to offer an entire menu of services, from corporate events to train and empower business people to dress and feel more confident, to a closet overhaul, to throwing fun Style Dial ® parties to accompanying clients on shopping trips. “In the end, our goal is to make shopping and dressing fun again,” says Wister. “Knowing what clothing to take off a rack, try on and take home becomes a transformational experience,” she says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Jany Stehman

jany stehamJany Nicole Steham graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. Since then she has worked in many facets of the Fashion and Beauty world, including organizing and showing in fashion shows in SF and Sacramento, Editorial Wardrobe styling, designing for two independent clothing lines, social media and branding for startup designers, and photography assisting. She currently works at Federico Beauty Institute doing Social Media, Event Coordinating, and Wardrobe Styling.

or over 60 years, Federico Beauty Institute has continuously set the bar for developing well-trained, highly-qualified beauty industry professionals. Those same high standards are guaranteed for the next 60 years as the staff and faculty at Federico Beauty Institute move forward with a comprehensive, long-range plan dedicated to enhancing student programs that will ensure every graduate is more than prepared for a successful career in the beauty industry.




Claude Brown


Not only is Claude Brown the VP at The Art Institute but he is a designer as well. His designs have been worn by the cast of Gossip Girl, featured in various magazines such as Glamour and Allure Magazine, and been on the rack at Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.

Prior to becoming Group Vice President, Claude was the President of The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles and had been serving as Interim Campus President for The Art Institute of California – Hollywood. Prior to serving as Campus President, Claude served as Program Lead (Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing Management , Fashion Retail Management), Academic Department Director (Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing & Management) for Ai Los Angeles.

Before joining Ai Los Angeles, Claude was the CEO / President / Design Director and founder of the Claude Brown label, which was sold in over 2,000 retail stores globally. Claude also served as Divisional Merchandise Vice President, Apparel Sportswear for Newport News, INC, and Divisional Merchandise Vice President – Senior Buyer for Talbots, INC. Claude has also several years of teaching experience at Birmingham Southern College, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Auburn University.

Claude holds a Ph.D. (ABD) from The University of Nebraska, a Master’s in Hispanic Studies from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Arts, Spanish and Bachelor of Science, Political Science from University of South Alabama.



Veronica Castro

Panel Moderator


A native of the San Francisco Bay Area who is also currently one of the hosts of Sidewalks Entertainment and Uncorked TV.  Veronica Castro is notable as the Travel host from the pop-culture, Emmy-Award-winning television show, Latin Eyes. As a travel and pop-culture enthusiast, she can be seen hosting various web videos, interviewing local and major artists, and reporting at red carpet or tech events in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Veronica pursued broadcast media in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. With a media crew, she explored with expeditions to many Latin American countries, which included visits to Mexico where she explored Tequila country and the Peruvian rainforest.  Additionally, the  enthusiastic travel-seeker has trekked through some of the most pristine trails and has seen fascinating archaeological remains and architectural legacies from some of the least explored areas of South America.  She has received an Emmy® award and several nominations for her work.

Aside from the many local and national celebrity figures she has met and interviewed, Veronica has worked with many creative artists and has helped spearhead various web shows from fashion, to music, to real estate. Inspired by the grassroots efforts of self-starters, she also enjoys working with independent filmmakers.

Incredibly passionate about her work and her community, she’s an advocate for supporting others and empowering dreamers. She self- started her own venture Do Tell Do Tell Media, to create influential media content for local artists, events and small businesses. You can also find her meditating on a yoga mat and leading yoga classes as a Yoga instructor in the San Francisco bay area.

About The Author

I graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Art History. I am currently attending Sacramento City College and working towards supplementing my education with certificates in both Graphic Communication and Fashion/Apparel Design and Production. I like to call myself a "forever tourist". With an open mind, there is always something new to get excited about, even after living in the same place for a long time. I believe this approach to life helps me improve my skills as a graphic designer. I have many hobbies including making sets on Polyvore, teasing my two little sisters and eating cake pops until I pop!